Question the decision


I was reading the article regarding the Escanaba School Board’s decision to award the audit contract to a firm from downstate. If the board was serious about what they say, then they would have taken the lowest bid from the firm in Grand Rapids. It appears Cathy Wilson and Natalie Clouse are not being “fiscally responsible as possible” as Ms. Wilson put it.

I think local boards (schools, county, etc) seem to forget that hiring local people to do the work needed will keep people in our community. The schools complain about enrollment declining. Well, here was an opportunity to do the right thing and as a board, you failed the community. We should ask Mr. Carne what would happen if people would buy their gas from an out-of-town gas station, what would you have to do with your employees? Keep them or let them go?

Ms. Lemire offered this to explain her decision “Overall, my recommendation is basically finding the firm that, based on what I read, appears to have the best qualifications – most experience for the price.” So, Anderson Tackman nor Schneider Larche don’t have the experience needed to do the audit for the schools? I think you should go and review both of their records. What kind of support do you think you will get from a firm that is five hours away? How can they provide you with same kind of service as a local firm, when much of their costs will be in travel time and expenses? I would be willing to bet the school district will see bills outside the contract for preparing schedules or other workpapers that the school district were supposed to provide. I think the $5,000 difference in the end, will not exist. I believe it is hard for a superintendent that doesn’t actually live in the district they manage to understand how important it is to support the district taxpayers and business owners who have children in the district. I must give Mr. Hermans credit for standing up for local business.

Dennis Gustafson